Good morning everyone, my name is Karen Rea. I am a resident of Markham Village and the president of Markham Village City Ratepayers.
I am here today to speak about the renaming Highway # 7.
I asked the Mayor of Markham on the weekend why it was even being discussed. He told me as the road was no longer a Highway, it needed to be renamed.
The definition of a Highway is: a main road, one between towns or cities, which is what Hwy # 7 is.
In the ad in the local paper it states that the name change will reinforce the new vision for the corridor of being an urban main street within York Region.
The definition of a Main street: is not only the major road running through a town but the site of all street life, a place where townspeople hang out and watch the annual parades go by.
No one is going to hang out on Hwy # 7. It is a minimum of 4 lanes, and in parts 6 lanes wide, we will also have a bus running down the middle of it. This by definition is a Hwy.
Hwy # 7, was first designated in 1920 and was once a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. Highway 7 measured 431 miles in length, stretching from Highway 40 east of Sarnia in Southwestern Ontario to Highway 17 west of Ottawa in Eastern Ontario. However, due in part to the construction of Highways 402 and 407, the province downloaded some sections of Hwy 7 to the regional jurisdiction. Highway 7 is a major arterial highway which traverses the entire southern half of Ontario. The highway is one of Ontario's most important routes, particularly through Eastern Ontario where Highway 7 serves as the only major through route north of Highway 401. Motorists seeking a more scenic alternate route between Toronto and Ottawa can use Highway 7 instead of Highway 401 and Highway 416. It is one of Ontario's longest highways.
I have found searches on the internet as far back as 2006, when York region tried to rename Hwy # 7 as Avenue seven… your logic back then was that avenue sounds more like a destination.
In 2010 you held public meetings in Richmond Hill, Markham and Vaughan 63 % of people did not want the name changed… so why 3 years later are we now looking at not only changing the name again but to something completely different to what was discussed at the meetings, now it’s International Drive?
Hwy # 7 is part of our history, part of our culture, you can pull pictures from the internet on what the road first looked like and how it has grown over the years.
We all want our history to remain. The richness that characterizes the communities is the stories that people can tell, about what used to be, the heritage, and our values, the buildings and the memoires of the people that made our villages and roads what they are today. That is our culture and the rich values that we all cherish whether we were born here or not. That’s what makes Canada what it is today. I moved here in 1978, kicking and screaming I may add, but because my parents thought we would have a higher standard of living here and there would be more opportunity here for us when we grew up. It’s probably the same reason why everyone moves here.
I would like to be able to tell future generations my stories of Canada and the history that I know and that we fought to keep it from being lost. I have grown up with Hwy # 7, and I would like it to stay as Hwy7. Just like Markham will always be a town to me, not a city.
I wonder how many hours have been wasted over the past 6-7 years debating on a name change. Are you going to pay to upgrade my GPS, the cost of all the road maps, signage and business stationary. What is even more silly, its only being changed from Donald Cousins Parkway. The left side of our bypass is one name and the other side is another name.
Reading through all the information on the internet I shake my head at all the wasted time and money spent on this, and the future cost of wasting more money. There is no need to change any portion of this road.
Yesterday Markham council voted unanimously to keep the name the same, Markham Village City RA supports their vote and respectfully request that you do not change the name of hwy # 7 and it is not rebought up again in a couple of years.
York region has no extra money, I have been told by a developer that we are almost bankrupt, so I believe that your time and our money would be better served trying to figure out how to get us out of the debt that we are in, resolve the congestion of our Town and to plan for our future infrastructure, and not add any extra money to the debt that we are now holding.
Karen Rae, President
Markham Village Ratepayers Association